Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekly Report: Week 5

Getting our scheduled work done this week was difficult due to other requirements of my time. We spent a few hours on Monday running errands during our normal school hours. They were errands that could not wait. Tuesday, Mika and I ran to Home Depot for craft supplies for a craft that took up most of our day on Wednesday. Thursday I had an unscheduled, urgent doctor's appointment and Friday included an ultrasound appointment. Wednesday was the only day that we were home all day but it was taken up by a craft in which a friend joined us. Because of all this, we spent part of today (Saturday) playing catch up.

Here's what we accomplished:


Language Arts: I decided that the film making plans weren't going to be enough for me to feel confident about the amount of language arts in Mika's schooling this year. I'm just don't capable of teaching language arts completely in context. Thus, I decided to add Michael Clay Thompson back into her plan; this was an option that I kept open just in case. She's already done part of the level she's on so we are doing some minor review before picking up where we left off last year. We covered verb tense this week. I can tell Mika to write me a sentence in present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tense and she definitely knows them do I. When it comes to grammar, I'm definitely learning right along with her.

Math: Mika's math lesson was super easy again this week. Using what she learned about building equivalent fractions last week, she learned to add and subtract fractions with unequal denominators. Math-U-See uses a very incremental approach to teaching and I'm definitely seeing that with fractions. She had to take both fractions and building equivalent fractions. Then she found the equivalent fraction for each that had matching denominators and circled them. Then she used those fractions to do the adding and subtracting. At this point, reducing fractions has not been covered or expected. Later, she'll learn a different method, called "rule of four" for finding a common denominator for this. It's the method that most of us know where you cross multiply. We only worked two more contest problems this week. Mika had no problems completing her perplexors this week; perhaps I should have bought her a harder level.

Life Skills:This is Mika's off week for cooking. However, I introduced the cleaning portion of our life skills class. My plan is for each child to be assigned one area of the house to learn about each month. Mika has the bathroom this month. I showed her how to clean the mirror, sink, toilet, and cabinets. She did a great job and actually did it with a good attitude. I was impressed.

Health and Fitness: Riding bikes and playing is the bulk of Mika's PE this year. As the weather turns, we'll rely more on the Wii for exercise.

Film Making: We finally received and installed Mika's video editing software so I need to give her time to film her first assignment. I also contacted the Computer Clubhouse, a free drop in program for learning various software, about their classes. Mika is excited about it and will start going to their weekly homeschool group two hours a week on Monday. They learn things like editing photos, editing videos, animation, and making role playing games.


Language Arts: Sam's grammar covered action verbs and linking verbs this week. It was pretty simple, stuff he already knows.

Math: Sam completed Math-U-See Epsilon lessons 18-23. Concepts covered were adding/subtracting mixed numbers with like denominators with and without regrouping, using the same difference theorem for adding/subtracting mixed numbers, and putting everythign together for mixed numbers (ie. adding/subtraction mixed numbers with different denominators where regrouping is required). He also "learned" using the reciprocal to divide fractions which he already learned before it was taught in the curriculum. I have a bad habit of teaching something and saying, "You can also do it this way," only to find out that the curriculum teaches my method later. Ooops! We worked two contest problems together and did four perplexors. Sam needed help on just one of the logic puzzles this week.

Health and Fitness: Besides riding bikes and playing, Sam attended four hours of taekwondo. He hasn't been all that interested in returning to his rigorous 10 hours per week schedule after taking the summer easy.

Life Skills: This was Sam's week for cooking. Our lessons focused on quick breads. We read some introductory information about leavening, and the difference between yeast breads and quick breads. The information also explained how baking power and baking soda worked. Sam made us our favorite zucchini bread and some chocolate chip banana bread. The picture below is of Sam measuring and adding baking powder for the banana bread. He's gotten pretty good at baking; his biggest challange is mixing by hand with a spoon. Give him a hand mixer and he's good. His cleaning lessons are focused in the kitchen; we read about some important practices in the kitchen, things like using clean towels to limit the spread of bacteria.


Language Arts: Using Teaching the Classics, we read and discussed The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Unfortunately, in my haste to move forward I didn't watch the teacher's DVD with this example first so our discussion wasn't as full as it could have been. However, we did have a good discussion about the story. Next week, I'll revisit the story and have the kids fill out a blank plot map as we discuss the plot structure, conflict, and theme. We are still listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on CD. I find myself enjoying the story so much I don't want to stop for the day.

History: The kids finished the map work for the Gupta Dynasty of India, which we read last week. We also read about the beginnings of Islam and the 5 pillars of Islam. The highlight of the week was our craft activity on Wednesday that went with last week's lessons. A friend came over and we made plaster and broken tile mosaics. It was much harder than we expected. My the details of the day. Here's just one of the photos shared in that post:

Science:We started a new science chapter this week. We've read about snails, slugs, tapeworms, and planarians. An interesting bit we learned about planarians, a type of flatworm, is that they can be taught to avoid light. Once taught, they can be cut in half. The regenerated worms will know to avoid light. You can then ground those worms up and feed them to untaught planarians and the untaught planarians will learn to avoid light faster than normal. Weird! Next week, we'll finish our chapter with annelids and a couple of experiments.

Social Studies: We began our Conversations with Character curriculum and did an activity that helps you learn and practice carrying a conversation. Not only did we practice taking turns in a conversation but we learned to ask related questions to help continue the conversation. It was a fun activity that we will return to regularly for practice.

Fine Arts: Our art supplies arrived so we dug right in to our drawing lessons from The Draw Squad. First, the kids drew before drawings of a house and airplane. We then began our lessons on foreshortening and draw a cake, a simple TV, and a candle. They are enjoying these lessons even though they are cartoon-like.

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Cyn said...

You all achieved so much this week!!
For a shortened week- you seemed to cover so much ( I'm jealous!!).

donna said...

Found your blog via the CVA Facebook page. Looks like you are all doing lots of fun stuff. We are also doing the Middle Ages in history this year. So much fun for boys !!!

MissMOE said...

I followed your link from TWTM forums. Really enjoyed your writing. Will be adding you on to my follow list!